I vividly remember the moment that I decided to write my third attempt. In 2009 I was going for a jog. The setting was perfect for inspiration - slightly stormy sunset sky, listening to good music, endorphins pumping. And it just hit me. I knew exactly what I should write, and I knew it would work this time.
I was sort of right. I sat down to write the novel that would eventually morph into The Charge, but the original concept was different enough I count them as two separate novels. Novel 2009 had a different title, (I'm leaving out the title because I'm thinking of using it again to title a new installment of The Charge series. ;) ) different MC, and even a different setting (no Texas! it was a fantasy world). So, yeah, it was pretty different, but my beta readers from that version will notice that the basic plot is the same and I even re-used a few scenes.
I got so, so, so close with Novel 2009. It won or got honorable mention in more than one agent judged contest, and I got a handful of partial and full requests. For me, being close, but not quite publication ready was harder than writing a crappy book that has no chance. It's this crazy roller coaster where you get contradictory feedback and have no idea how to proceed.
I had to accept the difficult fact that writing a good book is not enough to get published. I knew Novel 2009 had problems, but I also knew it had great things about it. Shelving a book you know is bad hurts like hell, but shelving a book you know is good is just horrible. It feels like such a waste and it's hard to know if you're doing the right thing.
But there is also a point where you've gone too far to turn back. I had put in so many hours, so much blood, sweat, and tears (okay, probably not any blood), I just had to keep trying.
Fortunately, my brilliant critique partners had given me all the insights I needed along the way to know where to go next, I just had to puzzle it all together and separate it from all the conflicting feedback noise.
*Spoiler alert* My debut novel, The Charge, comes out this Saturday! :)
Come back tomorrow to hear the best part, the story of my fourth novel and the one that would get published.